Nightly News | September 18, 2010
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Sarah Shourd is headed home tonight. The American woman freed from custody in Iran this week after more than a year behind bars is returning to the United States after a stopover in Oman . Before she left, she spoke publicly about the two companions she left behind . NBC 's Ron Allen reports.
RON ALLEN reporting: Sarah Shourd prepared to leave Oman , full of gratitude to the country that helped gain her freedom.
Ms. SARAH SHOURD: I will always associate your country with the first breath of my freedom, the sweet smell of sandalwood and the chance to stand by the ocean listening to the waves.
ALLEN: And once again she appealed for the release of her companions.
Ms. SHOURD: Please, please extend your prayers to my fiance, Shane , and my friend Josh. Insha'Allah , they will soon be free.
ALLEN: Iranian officials have said Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal , arrested with Shourd back in July of 2009 for allegedly crossing illegally from Iraq into Iran , will face trial for spying. The Americans claim they were just hiking. In Tehran last week NBC 's Andrea Mitchell asked Iran 's president what evidence exists of spying.
Mr. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (Iranian President): I think we should let the judge and the courts decide about the case.
ALLEN: And he said on state-run television that the United States should now release several Iranians being held in America , and has listed 11 people.
Mr. AHMADINEJAD: We hope that our dear Iranians who are in prison there will be reunited with their families.
ALLEN: Meanwhile, Shourd flies to the US from Oman with her companions, Bauer and Fattal , still very much on her mind.
Ms. SHOURD: It is my deepest, deepest hope that I will be able to show Shane and Josh the Grand Mosque soon, one of the most peaceful and powerful places of worship I have ever seen.
ALLEN: Her first stop in the United States will be here in New York tomorrow, a visit with a purpose. Leaders from around the world, including Iran 's president, are gathering for the annual meeting of the United Nations' General Assembly . Shourd plans to talk to the world's media Sunday, trying to keep the world's attention focused on her fiance and friend left behind in Iran .
Lester: Ron Allen . Ron , thank you.